US Heat Wave Worst Since 1995

As death toll hits 22

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 21, 2011 4:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – At least 22 deaths have now been attributed to the heat wave scorching the US this week, which one AccuWeather meteorologist yesterday predicted would “be more significant and impact a larger area than the deadly 1995 heat wave." That disaster killed a whopping 750 people over four days, but that hasn’t happened this time because of better communication of heat warnings and awareness of the danger, community leaders tell USA Today.

The National Weather Service’s current heat advisory affects some 141 million people across 24 states. Of course, those warnings haven’t helped livestock; some 1,500 cattle have died in South Dakota alone, Reuters reports, and that number could rise. And they haven’t mitigated the damage to roads, bridges, power grids, or crops either. In some places water itself is in short supply—Indianapolis has asked residents to stop watering their lawns to ensure sufficient water pressure in the system for firefighters.

Jonathan Decker, right, from Hot Springs, Ark., and Charlie Woolsey, from Harrison, Ark., tear a roof off a tornado-damaged home as the sun dips low in the sky Tuesday, July 19, 2011 in Joplin, Mo.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
In this July 18, 2011 file photo, Jazia Pratt, 8, fills a bucket with water from a fire hydrant in the afternoon summer heat, in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)
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